Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Politics and International Studies

Selling War. The Coalition of the Willing and War in Iraq

22 October 2008 | 4:00pm - 6:00pm | Seminar

Room 11.14, Social Sciences Building

Part of the Security, Development and Democracy Seminar Series

Based on ESRC funded research into how the language of the 'war on terrorism' has been used to frame security issues, the speaker will address the manner in which three democratic governments - the United States, the United Kindom and Australia - justified the interventions in Afghanistan in 2001, and Iraq in 2003.

Speaker: Dr Matt McDonald, University of Warwick.

Dr Matt McDonald is Associate Professor in International Security in the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Warwick. His research interests are in the area of critical security studies broadly, and more specifically in critical theoretical approaches to security and the application of these approaches to environmental change, the 'war on terror', Australian foreign and security policy and security dynamics in the Asia-Pacific. He has published on these themes in journals such as European Journal of International Relations, Review of International Studies, International Relations, Global Society and Australian Journal of Political Science, and is the co-editor (with Anthony Burke) of Critical Security in the Asia-Pacific (Manchester UP, 2007). He is currently working on a book exploring the relationship between environmental change and security, and an ESRC-funded project (with Richard Jackson) on the construction of the war on terror in the 'coalition of the willing' states of the US, UK and Australia. He is the Director of the MA in International Security at Warwick.

Paper Abstract:
This paper is part of a research project (with Richard Jackson, Aberystwyth) concerned with two central questions. First, how was military intervention in the ‘war on terror’ justified in the three original members of the 'coalition of the willing' in Iraq: the US, UK and Australia? Second, what political effect did these justifications have? These two questions together provide a basis for exploring the inter-subjective construction of the ‘war on terror’ in different contexts. The first enables us to locate important areas of similarity and difference in core justifications, in turn providing a sense of possibilities for foreign policy action in different settings. The second question also opens the possibility that justifications did not only enable military action but also served to constrain or limit that action. In the case of intervention in Iraq, the inconsistency of stated goals with the nature of the occupation of Iraq provided powerful bases for critique and- we would suggest- foreign/security policy reorientation or change. Recognising these immanent possibilities reminds us that even in the context of dominant, disciplining discourses, the potential for change exists.

All are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Location Details

Room 11.14 is located on the first floor (Level 11) of the Social Sciences Building.

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